Dude, Where’s My Data?

According to IBM, we are now creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data…every day.  What is big data?  Humans are creating so much data every day that, according to the same article, 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.  This staggering exponential growth of data has led to unique challenges for both businesses and regulatory groups.
As a society, we have almost become numb to the data breach du jour and have all but thrown our hands up to any expectation of electronic privacy.  Much as the protagonists in 2000’s classic motion picture “Dude, Where’s My Car?”, what you hope would be a simple search for your data may lead you to a long, winding and multi-layered journey.  As consumer data collection grows, there is a growth in the amount of layers that are created between a consumer and the data that they generate.  The reason is that new companies increasingly become specialists in the storage, mining, security and analysis of consumer data.  This happens due to the short run expectation of economic profit provided by the overwhelming growth and types of data now being created; primary companies simply cannot keep up so they need to rely on third parties for data handling.
Much has been made in recent news about data breaches from hacking as well as what agencies are doing with your consented data for marketing purposes.  My personal opinion is that there is a new wave of data creation and storage that is more concerning than the historical checks and balances used with credit card storage and tokenization (stay tuned for a coming post on that topic).
We have a newly arrived wave of always listening technology.  These range from applications on your smartphone that leverage your microphones, to smart televisions, to game consoles and even toys.  Instead of pushing a button, you can simply say “Ok Google” or use voice commands to control your television instead of a remote control.  In order for this to work, the microphone always has to be “hot”.  Samsung has even warned against discussing personal matters in front of your television and disclosed they use third-parties to collect information and they are not responsible for their third-parties’ privacy or security practices.
This isn’t meant as a fearmongering post to encourage jumping off of the grid.  This is an example of where we are in 2015: where a vast majority of companies are not able to handle the compounding and exponential growth of the data we create as a byproduct of convenience.  It is simply meant to urge us all to take a second and ask… Dude, Where’s My Data?

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